Volume 121, Number 53
Erickson paintings on display at ND Heritage Center in Bismarck
Editor’s note: The following item concerning Esmond native Vern Erickson appeared in the Sunday, Jan. 23 issue of The Bismarck Tribune. Erickson is a 1954 graduate of Esmond High School.
BY KEN ROGERS
The Bismarck Tribune
While the exhibit of George Catlin artworks records the Upper Missouri River Valley as it appeared not long after the visit by the Lewis and Clark expedition, a second collection of works at the Heritage Center by contemporary Bismarck artist Vern Erickson place members of the expedition and their story into that landscape.
The Catlin exhibit shows the American painter at his best. That’s good because Catlin was no Michelangelo. But he was tenacious, determined and not without talent, and he wasn’t afraid to get into the field. Catlin was here briefly in 1832. As a result, his great body of work tells us volumes about what life was like in American cultures before the aboriginal nations were inevitably influenced by European Americans.
Erickson, on the other hand, has lived and painted in Bismarck for more than 40 years. He knows cottonwood trees, grasses and other plants in all of their seasons. He knows the animals. The river. He knows the small details of the history of this place.
However, research and observation take you only so far as an artist. There has to be artistic talent and inspiration. Erickson has that as well. His works have been exhibited at the Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Mont., and two of his paintings are on permanent display at the North Dakota Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn.
Sixteen of Erickson’s paintings make up an exhibit titled “Interpretations of Lewis and Clark in North Dakota.” They are history paintings — snapshots from the explorers’ journals. One painting tells the story of the birth of Sakakawea’s son. Another recalls the expedition working its way up river in a keelboat.
The paintings are honest in their detail. They fall into the category of history paintings, in that they bring to life a pivotal moment from history.
Research makes up about 70 percent of the time spent on an artwork, developing the image requires about 20 percent and then 10 percent in painting, Erickson said.
The broad-shouldered painter has an extensive library of research materials and countless sketchbooks from his own fieldwork. They allow him to create these scenes from the past.
“A painting has got to tell a story,” Erickson said in an earlier Tribune story.
Erickson has worked at his painting full-time since 1972. Before that he worked for the State Historical Society and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
The Lewis and Clark works by Erickson will be on display at the Heritage Center until April 3. The Catlin exhibit will be up until Sept. 25.
Plans materialize for new building
View the building plan – (In PDF format)
The Maddock Multi-Purpose Building Committee has had several meetings and has come up with a basic plan for the building. It will be located just west of the Maddock School on land donated by Scott Foss. The building will be the home of the Benson County 4-H Achievement Days held each year in July. Other 4-H activities will also be held in the building during the year.
The Maddock School has agreed to rent the gym as a practice court for volleyball and boys and girls basketball. The weight room will be used by students and the public. The vocational agriculture program will also use the building for some of its events.
The building is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $600,000. Funding already in place includes approximately $90,000 from Benson County from proceeds paid by flood insurance on the buildings at Minnewaukan, which have been removed from that location; $100,000 from a Garrison Diversion Conservancy District recreational grant; and $90,000 from the city of Maddock. The city will own the building and maintain it.
The building committee is applying for grants and is soliciting donations to use for matching funds. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the City of Maddock Building Fund and sent to Multi-Purpose Building Fund, 5454 40th St. NE, Maddock, ND 58348. Donations of grain, livestock, stocks and bonds will also be accepted.
County commissioners asked towns to present proposals for the multi-purpose building. Leeds and Minnewaukan also submitted proposals, but commissioners chose the Maddock proposal because they felt it was superior to the others.
Info meet set Feb. 3
An informational meeting about the proposed multi-purpose building will be held Thursday, Feb. 3 at 4:30 and 8:30 p.m. at the Maddock School. The general public is invited, especially those interested in the Benson County 4-H program.
The committee making plans for the building will meet every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in February at the Maddock Business and Technology Center. The public is welcome.
Alvina Ebensteiner of Devils Lake won $882,019
When she hit the Wheel of Fortune? nickel MegaJackpot™ at the Spirit Lake Casino Jan. 29. A bank auditor, she was visiting the casino because she received a gift certificate for her birthday. Ebensteiner went on to say that she was drawn to the winning machine because she “always plays” it. Interestingly, Ebensteiner said she wasn’t aware she had won the top prize. “The person sitting next to me told me,” she said. Immediate plans for her winnings will include paying bills and sending her daughter to college.
Saturday’s MegaJackpot™ is the first to be awarded on the Wheel of Fortune? nickels progressive system at the casino this year. Spirit Lake has now awarded over $3 million in MegaJackpot™ prize money since 1997, including a $1.3 million MegaJackpot™ on the Regis’ Cash Club™ nickel progressive system. Spirit Lake is one of several casinos in North Dakota belonging to a Native American progressive gaming network that includes over 150 casinos in 15 states. Combined, North Dakota casinos have now awarded over $6 million in MegaJackpot™ prize money since 1994. Progressive systems allow for larger jackpots than traditional stand-alone slot machines, as each coin that is played in a linked machine at a participating Native American casino contributes to the cumulative jackpot, which in the case of Wheel of Fortune? nickels, starts at $100,000. A player wins the progressive MegaJackpot™ by betting 45 nickels at a time while attempting to line up the Wheel of Fortune? reel symbols on the machine’s payline.
Mary Nicholson Ketterling, right, general manager of the Spirit Lake Casino & Resort, presents Alvina T. Ebensteiner of Devils Lake with a big winner check at the Spirit Lake Casino & Resort Saturday, Jan. 29. Mrs. Ebensteiner won $882,019.09 on the Wheel of Fortune. The nickel machine is part of the Mega Jackpot Native American Wide Area Progressive Systems. The casino and resort is located on the Spirit Lake Nation in Benson County.
Snow party held
First graders at Maddock held a snow party Monday, Jan. 31 with their dads as the guests of honor. The party was a celebration after a month of studying snow facts and an in-depth unit of birds from the Southern Hemisphere, penguins. The boys and girls displayed their work, read to their dads, sang, recited penguin poems, made a penguin pal with an attached story, and ate “snowballs.” Mrs. Simon’s first graders, left to right, are Allyson Lauinger, Natalia Wright, Aaron Ellingson, Kyler Westad, Noah Arnold, Jaydin Risovi, Jessica Hill, Ethan Karlsbraaten, Courtney Lauinger, Micki Brandvold, Nora Duren, Brooks Duren and Caleb Johnson.
Takes 3rd place
Linda Drake of Sheyenne took third place in a chili contest at the VFW Club in West Fargo. The contest was sponsored by the West Fargo Park District.
There were 16 contestants. Several door prizes were awarded, there was free sampling of the chili after judging and music by the “Front Fenders.”